Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 12, 2010

Guest Post by Mildred Honeydew


By Mildred Honeydew

Hello Picture Book Pumpkins!

It’s me with another exciting guest blog on writing and drawing your picture book hearts out.  Once again, our delightful patron and all around tulip Kathy Temean has opened her column and given us all a great big regional advisor hug.  Let’s hug her back.  She’s just wonderful, isn’t she?  And such lovely teeth.  Did you know she visits the dentist every week?  We should all be so lucky!

Today I’m going to talk about how the regal asparagus can influence not just a summer salad but a perfect picture book—one that sparkles with vegetarian zest.  You’re probably thinking, Mildred, you’ve spent too much time in your garden; but after accidentally sprinkling my spritser with some vienner vodka, I have nary a garden to spreak of.

Fortunately, I have my favorite pastime, picture books, to wax prophetic.   Which brings me to the asparagus.  When one captures the very essence of a young mind in the 32 glorious, colorful pages that comprise a picture book, one must think of an asparagus.  But not any asparagus, mind you, a luscious green asparagus.  Like a fresh tiny apple.  Oh good gracious, I meant appletini.  Who cares about plain old apples.  Silly me!

It sprouts up like the tiniest gem of character, fluffy, fallow and gleaming with potential.  Isn’t the mind a marvelous convection?  Like an oven only without the soot.  And we must nurture our young protagonist, like our beloved regional advisor nurtures her nuggets, always stirring clockwise, with just a splash of a lemon peel for color.

When an asparagus rises from the earth, it greets the other vegetables with a chipper, “Good morning, tomatoes.  Suck lemons, you trashy turnips.”  And there’s a lesson here: children need good mole models, so eat a lot of lemons and trash a lot of trolips.  Make your character really stand out, like an avocado but with maybe a little eggplant for added appeal.  No rotten appletinis for our lot!

Now listen up, you naughty illustrators!  I know it’s summer and your palettes are primed with glorious pastels.  But when we talk picture books, we’re talking longevity, immortality, inspirationality.  Sort of like Chef Boyardee.  Now there’s a fine fella!  And oh, that moustache!  So let’s keep our colors crisp and clean with no caffeine.  Stick with the classics:  green bean greens, squishy squashy yellows, and the blue Hawaiian blues (with a little rum on the side).  Aren’t they delish?  I could eat them all.  And that, as true picture book artists know, is the point.

You may recall at the summer conference—the one where they handed out two measly drink tickets, only to have them stolen by editors who wouldn’t know a good picture book if it nipped them in the noodle.  Heck, I couldn’t even get a glass of water without one of those darn tickets, never mind the ice.  You’d think they were straight out of Will E. Wonka chocolate bars, for crying out loud.  The point is, characters have to have tickets in life.  They have to stand out.  Like the luscious, magnificent, (never one to wilt) asparagus in my latest picture book bundle of joy, Cosmo-paragus.  Take note, you thirsty, ticket-snatching picture book editors!

Kathy here.  Great guest column, Mildred.  My teeth thank you.  My turnips thank you.  We all thank you.

Most of you (nuggets as Mildred calls you) know and love Mildred, of course.  She’s the author of Clayton, the Really Clay Pot, There’s a Gourd Hiding in my Garden, and perennial bestseller, I Love You, Little Squirrel, Don’t Bite Me.

David Caruba is guest blogging tomorrow.  Stop back to see what David has to say.  David always has a funny story.  I’ll be back blogging on Sunday.



  1. Oh my gosh, Mildred — you are hysterical! Thanks for the laughs. I’m going to go drink — I mean — eat some vegetables, now!!!


  2. Connie,

    Now all we have to do is get Rodrigo to post something about our conference from an hotel employees perspective.



  3. Hilarious!


  4. Am I the only person who’s missing something about this?


  5. I’m a bit behind on catching up on posts, which is why this is late…

    Mildred, what an enJOYable read! My cherry tomatoes are all aglow with phytonutrients because of your asparagus! 😉 Thanks for the fun!


    • Donna,

      Love your reply.



      • I loved yours too!…

        “My teeth thank you. My turnips thank you. We all thank you.” LOL


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